Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters. Today's pick: Justin Steele
Justin Steele was a 5th round pick for the Cubs in 2014. Never considered to be a high ceiling prospect, he moved his way up through the Cubs system progressive. He had some good moments ( a 2.31 ERA for all of the 2018 season), and some tough (5.59 ERA for AA in 2019), but he kept at it and made his debut in 2021. This season, he has pitched well in relief for the Cubs, then was sent back down to AAA to stretch out.
Since coming back up, he's started a couple of games and done well enough. He's been able to scatter baserunners, despite giving up more HRs than we'd hope. But so far, he's shown the gas and guts to continue his MLB tryout. He may play into the Cubs' rotational plans for next year.
Welcome to the Cubs (again). Congrats on a successful baseball career thus far. Even though you were never a blue chip prospect with a super high ceiling, you've figured it out along the way. You've shown the mental tenacity to make adjustments and bounce back, and that is very valuable in this game. Keep it up!
I've been able to watch your first two starts, and I'm going to call it now: You have the stuff to be a successful MLB pitcher. Your pitches are nasty enough to get hitters out. You have the command to lead a game. You have the poise to keep the train on the track, even when having to pitch with runners on. You never play like you are in over your head. These are all earmarks of a successful MLB pitcher.
I hope you continue to make a strong case for your ability to start next season with your tryout this year. Not just for the good of the Cubs. You have the chance to show baseball that even guys drafted in later rounds can be successful too. I think that the journey has only just begun for you, and can't wait to see what's next. Go get 'em!